Currency.com Obtains DLT License From Gibraltar Financial Watchdog for Tokenized Exchange

Currency.com, a Belarus based crypto firm, has obtained a distributed ledger technology license granted by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, according to an announcement on July 6. This license would allow the platform to use blockchain for either storing or transmitting value to others in provision with the dealer.

Squires, the CEO of Currency.com, explained how the newly obtained license would reinforce clients’ belief in the firm while offering them better prospects of expanding and reaching new customers. He said:

“For our European clients, we’re aware that they have a preference for a recognizable legal framework for the venue through which they trade (Gibraltar is based heavily on the laws of England and Wales), so we intend to engage with clients and entities in the EU using this license.”

He elaborated further on the plans of expansion and said:

“We have several regions we’re keen to extend into, and we have the technical capacity and team to do so easily. That said, we are very cautious about any market entry to make sure that we protect both our clients and our brand. Once we have built our European expansion through Gibraltar, we’ll be moving on to other large markets for sure.”

He also lauded Gibraltar for regulating cryptocurrencies and crypto platforms, given how strict the governance around digital assets is. He noted:

“Our Gibraltar license is an important endorsement for the platform and further confirms our adherence to the most stringent standards, providing the highest level of safety and security for our traders.”

The EU regulations and guidance are considered to be among the strictest ones, and thus efforts made by the likes of Gibraltar helps in pushing the adoption.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Cryptos Sliding Out of the Top Race, These Altcoins are Taking the Place of Top Cryptos

The stock market is flying.

Today, Nasdaq Composite is on pace for another all-time high after setting a new peak yesterday, led by major tech shares such as Microsoft and Apple.

While the S&P 500 is flatline and the Dow dropped 0.7%, tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.6%.

But it’s not only the stocks that are surging, but digital assets are also on a tear too, many tokens are gaining 50%-1,000% since the lows in March.

It’s those tokens that are issued by companies that are “beginning to achieve real product market fit,” said Jeff Dorman, Chief Investment Officer at Los Angeles-based money manager Arca.

If we take a look at the top cryptos like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP, it is hard to see, but the crypto market is seeing its very own fireworks.

The Movers & Shakers

In 2020 so far, the DeFi project Aave has surged over 2,100% and Kyber Network 815%. Other known big winners are Bancor (490%), REN (468%), Loopring (342%), Zilliqa (328%), ERD (320%), DigiByte (298%), and Cardano (240%).

Now coming onto the coins that are slowly losing their place are:

XRP, the worst performer of 2020, has already fallen one place below to 4th position.

At the beginning of 2020, Litecoin was at 6th place, EOS 7th, Monero 10th, and Stellar 11th, which have now declined to 8th, 11th, 16th, and 17th place respectively.

Left: Crypto market as of January 4th, 2020, Right: Crypto market as of July 5th, 2020

But today, these positions are captured by other coins. At 6th place, the new crypto is Cardano, which is yet again surging today by 17% and, in anticipation of its Shelley mainnet launch in the coming months, has climbed over 400% since March lows.

IOHK USA, the company behind Cardano, also received a PPP loan between $350K and $1 million.

Chainlink, which continues to make new all-time highs, the latest one is $5.68 at the time of writing, which captured 12th spot, up from 20th rank on January 4th, 2020.

From the 27th spot, Crypto.com Coin has climbed to 10th place, which is up 300% YTD.

Altcoin Season or Extinction

The top cryptos might not be ready yet but still, Bitcoin ended the second quarter better than other traditional assets with 42% gains.

The lack of activity in Bitcoin is actually good for altcoins and its dominance has already been falling since May when it was near 70%.

The DeFi boom is also helping Ethereum, at least in terms of network activity. And it is possible, ETH won’t outperform until the DeFi cycle ends because “new money coming in will have missed the 10-50x returns, see that eth has still trended relatively flat, and buy eth instead as it’s a safer & simpler,” said analyst Ceteris Paribus.

According to trader Crypto Wolf, “ETH is building it’s momentum. We can notice a series of S/R flip, imo this is very bullish as we are building the bases for a parabolic scheme.”

Even XRP may soon see some movement.

However, when this altcoin movement stops, it would be the time for Bitcoin to get on a bull ride. Currently, its implied volatility is at its lowest since March 31, 2019, and realized volatility is at its lowest since April 1st, 2019. So, the leading cryptocurrency may get to see some volatility soon too.

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Author: AnTy

Courts in China Are Adopting Blockchain-Based Electronic Seals to Protect Property

China has been aggressively promoting and incorporating blockchain in various private and government sectors. Now, the judiciary system is utilizing blockchain technology where Chinese courts are going to use blockchain-based e-sealing services to protect properties from being damaged.

The first use of this e-sealing system was by The Executive Bureau of the People’s Court in Haidian District, Beijing, to seal a property in Chaoyang district, reported Global Times. This decentralized e-sealing system makes use of installed cameras to monitor the property in real-time.

The blockchain system has been coded in a way to alert the authorities through mobile phone notifications if the camera detects any intrusion or damage. The system will be equipped to take still photographs of the intruder and alert the law-enforcing authorities.

How is Blockchain Used in the E-Sealing System?

The primary use of blockchain in the e-sealing system would be data monitoring, data security, and management. The data stored on the blockchain could be utilized by only authorized parties such as the investigating agencies who can check the whole history of the property.

After the successful use of the blockchain-based e-sealing system by the courts of the Haidian District, several other district courts from East China’s Jiangsu Province, South China’s Hunan Province, and East China’s Jiangxi Province also showed interest. They announced that they would also use a similar system for sealing and monitoring sealed properties.

Before the current e-sealing system, Chinese courts have incorporated blockchain for court procedures in 2019 as well, where almost 3.1 million Chinese Litigation activities were settled using smart contracts, and the whole system was popularly called “smart internet courts.”

The president of this Beijing Internet Court believes blockchain integration and use in the judiciary has helped to collect and provide evidence in cases, as well as fosters social credibility development in the country.

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Author: James W

Binance Making Ripples in Crypto with New Partnerships; Acquiring Swipe & Etana Fiat Onramp

  • Binance announces a strategic partnership with Digital Asset Custodian Etana to extend its fiat onramp services to 15 fiat currencies.
  • This, together with their most recent crypto credit card, Swipe aligns with their objective of availing crypto to the masses as they look to onboard over 180 currencies to their onramp and off-ramp services.

News has now emerged that leading crypto exchange, Binance will be extending its support for 15 extra fiat currencies to its vast platform. This was after the 7th June announcement revealing a unique partnership with Etana Custodian.

The 15 currencies are UAE dirham, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Swiss franc, Czech koruna, euro, British pound, Hong Kong dollar, Danish krone, Hungarian forint, Mexican peso, Norwegian krone, New Zealand dollar, Polish zloty, and Swedish krona. This will consolidate the exchange’s presence in the North American, European, Oceanian, and Asian markets.

Wei Zhou, CFO at Binance, revealed that the users could sync their accounts to channel funds from their bank accounts to the digital asset custodian via utilizing swift. They could then credit the funds available in the Etana account without incurring extra transactional charges.

This will be in line with their goal of finally onboarding 180 fiats to their fold. According to Etana top brass, they share a common objective with Binance of providing smooth and uninterrupted fiat onramps for their users. Notably, major US-based crypto exchange Kraken, a rival of Binance, also leverages Etana fiat onramp services.

Swift Acquisition

Impressively, Binance recently completed a major acquisition deal. They purchased a major stake in UK based Visa crypto card issuer, Swipe. According to Binance Chief executive, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao off-ramps also have a significant role to play in their objectives of increasing accessibility of crypto to the masses.

As part of the deal, Binance will list Swipe’s token the SXP and is set to open trading pairs against BTC, the Binance coin, and their Binance USD stablecoin. They also purchased a considerable amount of the SXP which they have highlighted is locked in a multi-year contract. Though they will now rebrand to the Binance card, they have been availed to over 31 jurisdictions stretching across Europe with sights now set on the lucrative American and Asian markets that have a voracious crypto appetite.

This will now increase their incredible string of acquisitions they have made in the past, including the mega $400 Million Coinmarketcap deal. They also boast of having Indian crypto exchange WazirX and derivatives platform JEX.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Germany Vows To Fight Money Laundering And Terrorism Financing As New FATF President

In a document released to the public on July 7, 2020, the incoming German president of FATF, Dr. Marcus Pleyer, vows to “strengthen the FATF’s governance, enhance its strategic focus, and increase its public visibility.” Marcus further calls on the FATF Secretariat and members alike to help in the fight against terrorism financing, migrant smuggling, environmental crimes, and money laundering in a new digital transformation of AML/CFT act.

The team will study the challenges and opportunities presented with new financial technologies and operational changes to help AML compliance. FATF will also focus on enhancing data pooling and analysis to enable the private sector to remain AML/CFT compliant using artificial intelligence and big data analysis.

The German Presidency, lasting from 2020-2022, will also develop solutions to deal with the current challenges brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the statement says.

The AML/CFT regulations set in place aim at building on initiatives within the FATF Global Network to prevent money laundering and counter-terrorism, among other illicit activities, including illegal arms trafficking, financing of ethnically or racially motivated terrorism, and migrant smuggling.

Germany Crypto Regulation Outside FATF

Germany is witnessing a spike in regulatory policies being set up surrounding crypto and digital assets. There is a recent bump in crypto custodian license requests across the country following the release of crypto services guidelines earlier this year by the top financial regulator Bafin, who named cryptocurrencies as financial instruments.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitmain Power Struggle: Truce is Over & Fight for Control Resumes; Bitcoin Miners Could Suffer

The struggle between the co-founder of bitcoin’s biggest miner manufacturer is not looking to end anytime soon. It hasn’t even been two weeks, and they are back at it.

The fight restarted when Bitmain co-founder Micree Zhan or Zhan Keutan attempted to redirect customer payments to a new bank account in a Wechat post at midnight. Dovey Wan, founding partner at Primitive Crypto tweeted,

“This marks the DEATH of Jihan in the Bitmain power struggle IMO: Bitmain just announced it will change the miner sales payment bank account & wiring info into a company Micree serving as legal representative. Micree now financially takes over Bitmain’s core business.”

It may not be a death blow to Jihan yet, but sure seems like a hard blow to the bitcoin miners who are awaiting their big orders.

The infighting between the co-founders could interrupt the product deliveries as it affects the shipments and supply chain. While some are reluctant to buy bulk orders, it is not stopping others from buying machines from Bitmain.

Last week, Core Scientific announced that the hedge fund Horizon Kinetics extended its partnership with the US-based blockchain hosting provider and upgraded its crypto service to Bitmain Antminer S19 and S19 Pro models.

Recently, Core Scientific purchased 17,000 of the latest generation crypto miners from Bitmain.

Source: Twitter

On Monday, Hive Blockchain technologies also announced that it had ordered 200 Bitmain Antminer S17e 60 terahash per second (TH/s) SHA 256 mining machines to scale up its mining power at its bitcoin mining operation in Quebec.

With the cost for the S17e machines approximately US$950 per unit, the purchase was just under US$0.2 million, and the company is anticipating delivery in July, but that’s to be seen. F2Pool noted,

“The slowdown in hashrate growth may continue, as many of the large hardware orders reported recently won’t deliver until late in the summer.”

So far, both the co-founders are claiming to be the company’s real CEO. While Zhan controls the Shenzhen headquarter and factory Wu has the bank accounts and support of the board.

The rivals did reach an agreement to resume deliveries less than two weeks ago. On June 23, the company even published an article to reassure its customers that they have resolved the issue only to delete it within a few hours.

It hasn’t been 24 hours to Zhan’s document with changed sales information, (including the bank account for payments, after-sale service website, and e-mail address) that another official Bitmain WeChat account associated with Wu revoked the document stating it contained false information.

In the new document also posted on the website, citing “abnormal conditions,” Zu said “criminals” are trying to impose Bitmain representations.

It looks like Wu is here to fight, and customers will also have to pay the price.

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Author: AnTy

Total Value Locked On DeFi Platforms Soars Past $2 Billion; Compound Overtakes Maker by $67M

The decentralized finance (DeFi), also popular as open finance, world is growing to unseen proportions with the total value locked (TVL) on DeFi apps setting an unprecedented $2 billion mark on Tuesday. The top DeFi platform leads the charge, Compound, which has seen explosive adoption since launching its governance token, COMP, in mid-June, which led to a “yield farming craze.”

A DeFi craze cashing in

Total Value Locked On DeFi Platforms Soars Past $2 Billion As Compound Emerges Top App!
Source: DeFiPulse

Those yet to understand the magnitude of DeFi’s growth would do well to check the TVL charts provided by DeFi Pulse. The first billion locked in DeFi took close to 30 months to build up as decentralized exchanges tried to build up the industry’s values. In less than a month, the DeFi space has gained its second billion with the introduction of ‘yield farming’ playing an important role.

The committed value in DeFi protocols exponentially grew from approximately $50 million locked at the start of January 2018, reaching a peak of $1.275 billion in mid-February this year. However, the March 12th crash heavily affected the field, wiping off 56% of the value locked.

In mid-June, the launch of Compound (COMP) and Balancer (BAL) governance tokens re-sparked the DeFi craze, rising from $1.031 billion on June 16th to a current value of $2.022 billion in TVL.

[Read more: Techemy Capital plans to launch Compound (COMP) investment portfolio for yield farmers]

Compound leads DeFi resurgence.

It seems “yield farming” is the cause of the recent resurgence of the DeFi market, Compound leading the charge. Currently, the platform has the highest TVL, dominating 32.82% of the total value locked on DeFi platforms.

Using technical strategies on the borrowing and lending of digital assets on Compound, users earn higher yields, which has seen crypto enthusiasts dive into the market in huge numbers. In light of borrowing and lending, users are able to gain COMP tokens, which experienced a huge demand once launched.

Maker, a lending platform that prints DAI, is second on the log with a total locked value of $594 million; Synthetix, Balancer, and Aave close out the top five with $321 million, $157.8 million and $157.1 million locked respectively.

A burgeoning DeFi market cap

While the TVL shows the appetite for DeFi products in the market, the metric lacks to account for some areas such as the volumes transacted on decentralized exchanges (DEXes), transaction volumes across DeFi, etc.

The market, however, shows signals of surpassing the $10 billion dollar mark, with DeFi Market Cap, a data aggregator for the top 100 DeFi tokens, showing the total market cap of these tokens is at $7.4 billion.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Visa Seeks Ethereum, Ripple and Bitcoin Blockchain DeVs Following Crypto Frenzy

Visa is looking to hire blockchain engineers with expertise on Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin, as recently reported by Decrypt. The global payments giant has been making significant moves in the blockchain and crypto space in preparation for digital currency ecosystems. With the latest step being an ‘alleged’ human resource expansion, could Visa scale its foothold in the blockchain-based payments niche?

This new prospective hire will join Visa’s B2B, the firm’s cross-border payments solution built on blockchain that launched back in June 2019. They will work towards adding value to this distributed ecosystem hence the requirements on some blockchain languages. The job ad highlights,

“Our ideal candidate has built and released distributed applications, has worked with the Ripple, R3, Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchain, and has experience with Solidity.”

While the requirements may signal an intention to build on a network like Ethereum, Visa is more likely to leverage the Hyperledger open-source instead. This Linux developed innovation presents ‘enterprise-grade’ solutions for corporate entities and received the backing of IBM and Intel soon after it launched in 2016. With the Hyperledger network, firms have an option to create permissioned ecosystems as a way of protecting private data while communicating within a distributed platform.

Visa’s Crypto and Blockchain Enthusiasm

This California-based payment service provider is emerging as a crypto favorite given recent milestones. For starters, the firm filed for a digital dollar patent in May as the rush for CBDC’s intensifies. According to Visa’s crypto head, the CBDC trend will probably set the stage for a digital currency ecosystem, making it essential for stakeholders to be involved in the research and development. Other than a digital dollar proposition, Visa has enabled some utilities within its cards for crypto service providers such as Binance and Plutus.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Binance Banned from Offering Crypto Derivatives in Brazil

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Brazil issued a notice to the leading spot crypto exchange Binance to cease offering crypto derivatives trading in the country.

As per the document released on July 2nd, 2020, the company does not hold the authorization from the SEC to act as a securities intermediary in the country.

It further states that Binance Futures, through its page “www.binance.com,” is offering derivative intermediate services to the customers residing in Brazil.

This is because “derivative contracts are securities, regardless of the underlying assets,” states the document.

As such, the company is ordered to “immediately suspend” offering derivatives. Failure to comply with this order will subject Binance to the imposition of a daily fine of R $ 1,000.00 (one thousand reais worth nearly $187).

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Author: AnTy

Iranian Crypto Miners Must Register Identities, Rigs, and Overall Size With the Government

  • The government of Iran is going after illegal crypto miners with a decree from the Cabinet of Ministers’ meeting instructing cryptocurrency miners in the country to register their businesses in designated centers within the next month.

Iran is one of the few countries that has embraced cryptocurrency mining as a legal business in a bid to increase revenues and escape the tough economic U.S. sanctions placed on the country. In a bid to regulate the crypto mining industry and eliminating confusion within the industry, the government will place monitoring controls on the company’s mining activities.

Within a month, every crypto miner is now required to disclose their identities, the size of their farms, electricity consumption, and disclose the number of mining equipment they own. The new mining activities regulations follow President Hassan Rouhani’s call for more crypto mining policies to be put in place.

The statement from the Cabinet further asked the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade to release the center’s list of those eligible for crypto miners to receive their registration documents. Owners of the mining devices are obliged to deliver all their devices to the mentioned centers or apply for a mining activity license within one month from the date of announcement of the mentioned list.

Early last month, Mohammad Hossein Farhangi, an Iranian Member of Parliament said the central bank should take charge of crypto regulations in the country as the country tries to align its policies on digital assets.

In April of this year, Iranian crypto miners were close to 4% of bitcoin’s hashrate.

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Author: Lujan Odera